NHL players are using different ways to cope with the third NHL lockout, which turns one month old today. More than 100 players have chosen destinations in Europe to play and earn some money in the meantime, while others have stayed close to their NHL cities and made community appearances. Generally, the top six players on a team are more likely to choose to play in Europe, but some big-name guys who have not yet signed overseas might be doing something different instead.
Pat Brisson, who co-heads CAA Sports’ hockey division and represents many of the biggest names in the NHL as their agent, has an idea to revive something he did in 2004 when that entire NHL season was lost to lockout.
Back in December 2004, he put together the IMG World Stars Tour, where about 30 players played ten games in different European cities for a period of two weeks.
Of course, back then, some of the biggest names in Brisson’s book were not yet part of the NHL. Now he has names like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to help entice overseas fans to a revival of the World Stars Tour.
It’s appropriate to note that Crosby, Kane and Toews have yet to sign anywhere overseas. Other Brisson clients, like the Sedin twins and Daniel Alfredsson, have also made no decisions about their overseas plans yet.
Players represented by other agencies, not just CAA, might choose to participate as well. Brisson figures that it may cost more to get the basics together, like getting a plane and guaranteeing insurance, but that a tour like this might also bring in more revenue to make up for the costs.
This is similar to La Tournee des Joueurs, the Quebec-based friendly tournament between Quebecois players and Montreal Canadiens teammates in the area. That tournament sprouted up fairly quickly after the lockout began and has played many games in various smaller Quebec cities to date.
Perhaps the World Stars Tour 2.0–or whatever it might end up being called–could be successful too.